Tag Archives: North End

Déjà vu Boston!

Onset to Boston

Thursday (7/8) – Boston, MA

We had a weather window today to get up to Boston before the winds picked up, and trying to take advantage of the current through the Cape Cod Canal.  We left around 7:30 am and headed out onto Buzzards Bay. It was a little windy compared to yesterday, and Denise was very nervous about the conditions we would face once on the other side of the canal. The seas were forecasted at 1’ – 3’ and a northeast wind.  Every other time we have come through this way we have had near perfect weather and her anxiety for this passage was high.  Although our cruise north should only take about 2.5 to 3 hours, it can seem like an eternity when conditions bring on seasickness, or rough seas.

As expected, cruising the Cape Cod Canal was uneventful, even with the swirls of swift currents wanting to take our boat in different directions.  But with many pictures already of this area, Denise was light on the camera and only took a few shots of some uniquely spotted items along the way.

We exited the Canal and headed out onto the Cape Cod Bay on a course that would take us near the channel entrance to Plymouth, one of several bail-out locations we had identified should things get too rough.  It was quite bumpy and uncomfortable, but not so rough we couldn’t handle it.  There were periodic swells that came from the northeast, and about every 6th or 7th would be a 2-4 footer.  But the seas were a bit confused from the shifting wind direction of the prior days and in between the swells there would be a bump or two.  As we rounded the point around Plymouth Channel and the Plymouth Bay, things stayed about the same and we felt that if it didn’t get any worse we would press on with Situate as our next potential stopping point.  One thing we had going for us was that there was little true wind, so there were no whitecaps or tops of waves rolling into us.  Had this been the case it would have been miserable.

We entered the Massachusetts Bay and our course shifted slightly more northwest, making it slightly more comfortable. It also helped that what little wind we did have up until now had calmed down even more.  By the time we reached Situate we only had 10 more miles to go before turning into the south channel for Boston Harbor, and we knew we could make it all the way into Constitution Marina on the Charles River.  But it was still too rough to try and take any kind of decent pictures.

As we entered the south channel, the small barrier islands created a swirl of currents and chop and we were back to bumpy waters.  But they were short-lived and before long we were in the main shipping channel into Boston Harbor.  Captain Mark negotiated us around an anchored ship and dodged several sailing schools who were taking advantage of the wind to teach their students.  And of course under the landing planes at Logan Airport.

Most unnerving during this time we also heard on the VHF a call to the USCG for a pleasure craft taking on water, who was located just south of where we had just passed by.  The USCG launched two vessels to assist, along with a TowBoatUS vessel. As we entered downtown Boston area, the solo-captain radioed that he was able to get his bilge pumps to keep up with the inflow of water and eventually got a tow into Boston Harbor. Our hearts went out that boat owner and we kept thinking how lucky we are that there are two of us to work together should something like this ever happen to us. And then we arrived at Constitution Marina.

Our slip assignment was on one of the inner side-tie slips by the pool and marina office, requiring a tight right, then another right, then a left turn to get to it.  Captain Mark did an awesome job of navigating the tight turns and docking our Island Office without touching the boats in front and behind us.  Denise worked to secure the boat with the help of the dockmaster (Sebastien) who remembered us and welcomed us back.  And then as she turned to see the boat behind ours (stern to stern), and read the name she couldn’t believe it.  The boat “Travail” was there, as it had been behind us in 2017 when we first came to this marina. You can read about that story from our blog here.  The owner Bob was not on the boat, but was expected back to take it home to NH in a few days.  We were excited that we might be able to see him again after all this time.

“Travail”

Once the boat was settled, we ate lunch and mapped out our plan for the stay.  We had work to do, a blog to update and plans to make. But more importantly, we had to check on the weather.  The forecast called for rain to begin in the evening and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit the area on Friday. This meant we would be here for 2 nights at least. We spent the afternoon doing work for clients, and began planning our next destinations once we leave.  We had already decided we would not be stopping in Gloucester, even though we received a partial refund from on our cancellation.

Meanwhile, the threatening rain had not yet showed up and we decided to walk to the North End for dinner. We were going to go to Regina’s Pizza, but a local suggested we got to Ernesto’s instead and we agreed to try something new.  Denise was disappointed that the usual walk over the locks for the Charles River was closed to pedestrian traffic, so no “playing” of the “Charlestown Bells” along the route.  Instead we were forced back up on the North Washington Street Bridge, which was undergoing a major construction and rebuilding project.  Once at Ernesto’s we discovered a small pizzeria with limited seating, but award plaques on the wall with great reviews.  We thought the pizza was good, but the atmosphere at Regina’s is so much better and decided we prefer the pizza there too.

On the way back to the boat, we had to walk past Bova’s the bakery that is open 24 hours a day. Naturally, we had to stop and get a box of various Italian cookies; our favorite thing they sell. And as we made our way back across the North Washington Street Bridge it started to lightly sprinkle, but didn’t last long.

At Bova’s Bakery

That night we began watching the second season of “Lupin” on Netflix; a great robbery crime-drama that has English dubbed over French, but is very well done. We were so happy to finally have a good Wi-Fi system and that we could again stream a show in the evening without burning up our hotspot hours.

Friday (7/9) – Boston, MA

We woke up to the constant pitter-patter of rain and looked out on a gloomy looking day. It had started to rain during the night and continued throughout the morning, and the wind picked up, although neither were quite as strong as forecasted.  Meanwhile, the area around Cape Cod was getting pummeled by Elsa and we were so glad we were no longer there.  Again, we made the right call! 

Off and on throughout the day it was so foggy you could barely see the buildings downtown across the Charles River, let alone the tops of the taller ones.  We spent the entire day holed up on the boat, working and getting the last blog update done and pictures downloaded and cataloged.  We also spoke to family and friends, many who were concerned for our well-being (thank you!).  Additionally, the every-direction-changing wind pushed water into places that funneled into the boat.  We knew there were leaks, we just have not been able to find out where they originate. So far all we can do is use towels and catch basins to collect the water. It is a rare occurrence, but irritating nonetheless.

In the afternoon, the rains finally stopped and we had a chance to connect with Bob (“Travail”) who arrived on his boat mid-morning during the rain. We chatted for a while and made plans to get together for drinks and dinner, which we did.  Again we walked over to the North End, only this time we went to an Italian restaurant he knew of called “Limoncello”.  It was located right near Paul Revere’s house and was delicious, and yes, Mark got his usual (chicken parmigiana) and during dinner, the sun finally came out.

Afterwards we went to “Caffe Vittoria” for a cappuccino (Denise) and spumoni (Bob), as per Bob’s tradition introduced to us in 2017.  During the time together, we got caught up on each other’s lives and Bob suggested places in Maine, but most of them we had already been to, or are planning on going to this trip.

We ended the evening watching more of season 2 of the “Lupin” series and deciding that we would spend Saturday night in Boston as well.  This would allow us to be able to attend church here on Saturday evening, and allow for us to go all the way to Portland or the surrounding area on Sunday morning as the weather looked to be favorable for that.

Saturday (7/10) – Boston, MA

This morning Denise was so happy!  She was heading out for a run along her now-familiar route along the Charles River when she met up with another woman also heading out for a run.  “Nancy” did not know the area and so Denise took her down the Charles River to MIT. During the run she learned they were on a sailboat in the marina and also heading to Maine. They talked about all things running and places to go in Maine and learned a little bit about each other. Denise was elated to finally have someone to run with!

After the run, showers and breakfast, we both got down to doing some boat chores.  We had a chance to meet some of the other transients in nearby boats, including Lon and Pat (“End Game”) from Ponte Vedra, FL.  They were on a Fleming 55, hull #200 and we discussed all things boating.  They were planning to do the Down East Loop and because of Canada not reopening, they too are now headed directly to Maine. We hope to see them in the future.

“End Game”

In the afternoon we walked the quarter mile up to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 4:00 pm mass.  It is a beautiful church and the closeness to this church is another reason we love Constitution Marina.  From there we walked another quarter mile to Whole Foods to pick up a few things for our trip.  This is our last true provisioning before Maine and we wanted to make sure we had enough fruits and veggies for a week.

We returned to the boat and talked briefly to Bob (“Travail”) and Lon & Pat (“End Game”), as we all were heading out in the morning to our respective destinations.  We then ate dinner on the boat and finished watching season 2 of “Lupin”.  Then we went to be early as we planned for an early departure (6:30 am) so we could be at Harbor Fuels when they opened at 7:00 to top off our fuel tank.  Off we will be to Maine, finally!

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Boston – still!

Boston, MA – Friday 9/27
After a busy week of family fun and moving the boat quite a bit, we settled into a quiet workday.  We had work to do and many pictures to download, catalog and begin thinking about updating the blog.  The high winds over the next few days meant we were not going to go anywhere and that was ok by us. Boston is a fun city and we look forward to spending some time here.

We stayed close to the boat all day.  The rain was gone and our boat needed a bath, so Mark took care of cleaning the outside. In the meantime Denise took care of some inside cleaning.

With nice weather we decided to walk to the North End for dinner and get that pizza that we wanted last night.  We took the path from the marina that goes under the North Washington Street Bridge and over the locks entering the Charles River. Along the way are the Charlestown Bells that Denise always has to play when she walks by. These are tubular bells that hang on the railing along the pedestrian path that use levers to invoke a chime. You can learn more about them here.

Charlestown Bells

Charlestown Bells

The route leads past the Converse store and the Lovejoy Wharf condos on one side, and the TD Garden on the other side.

From there we headed north, crossing Washington Street and into the Italian section of the North End.

North End signage

North End signage

It is only a few blocks to Regina Pizzeria where you queue up in line and wait for a host to tell you when you can come in and sit down. There was already a line when we arrived, but we only had to wait about 15 minutes. As was the case last time we were here, we agreed to sit at the small bar and that got us seated faster. Once inside we ordered our individual pizzas and a couple of beers.  Denise’s first pizza arrived almost totally burned and the bartender suggested she have it remade, which she did.  It didn’t take long and another one was presented that was much better.

After dinner we walked to Bova’s, the Italian bakery that is open 24 hours and is always crowded, especially on a Friday night.  Here we purchased a few goodies to take back to the boat.

It was a great way to end a fun-filled week, and a quiet day.

Boston, MA – Saturday 9/28
It was a nice sunny morning and it seemed like it could actually be a good day to leave Boston. However, the winds were forecasted to pick up substantially during the morning, and really blow hard in Buzzards Bay near where we are headed next. Denise had been in touch with Claire who was enticing us to leave Boston and take the boat to Falmouth on Cape Cod where they were.  We could leave in the morning, but only if we had a long enough weather window to get there and across the very exposed Vineyard Sound. The concern was not just today, but what was the forecast for the coming days as we didn’t want to get stuck in Falmouth for a long time. It is expensive to stay there and without a car we would be limited in what we could do.

We agreed to discuss it when Denise came back from her morning run, in the meantime Mark would look at the options and future weather forecast.  Denise left for a run along the Charles River; a familiar and fun route. However, once she made her way down the path near MIT, the wind was whipping across the river and she knew the answer was a no-go for Falmouth. She didn’t even wait for the end of the run before texting Mark back and telling him there was no way we were going out in the ocean (Massachusetts Bay) if the wind was blowing in such protected waters already.  Here are a few pictures from her run:

Once back at the boat we agreed and let Claire know we would be staying put in town. Besides, we had laundry to do and Constitution Marina offered the most affordable place (and convenient) so we made that our Saturday morning task.  In the afternoon we walked the half mile up to Whole Foods and bought some steaks to grill out for dinner this evening.  We also went to the ACE Hardware (located in the same shopping center) so Mark could do reconnaissance on a shop vac for the boat. He still has not yet found one and will probably order one off of Amazon.

The afternoon was spent hanging around the boat and talking to other boaters including Chuck and Victoria.  We continue to share ideas about what we have each have added to our boats, as well as software tools to assist us in our cruising lifestyles.

Later in the day Denise talked with Claire and found out that the wind had picked up early and was really blowing in Falmouth.  We knew we had made the right decision as exiting the Cape Cod Canal would have been horrible and we are not about getting beat up just to get somewhere. This is supposed to be enjoyable and rough seas would not make the Admiral happy.

That night there was some type of a surprise party on the porch of the marina. They rent out the facility to the general public and since our boat is right by the marina facilities we were entertained by the music and loud conversations. It was just getting under way when Mark went upstairs to use the grill, but by the time we settled in to watching Game of Thrones we found it to be a bit of a distraction. Fortunately, it didn’t last very long and by the time we were ready for sleep they had wrapped up for the night.

Boston, MA – Sunday 9/29
One of the best parts about staying in the Constitution Marina is that we can leave for church 5 minutes before mass starts and still make it with 2 minutes to spare.  St. Mary’s is literally .25 mile from our marina and this makes it very convenient.

We attended the 8:00 am mass and sadly found it to be sparsely attended.  The church is magnificently beautiful and the Cantor had the most wonderful voice.  But the best part was right after communion when the organist/pianist gave us a wonderful rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Peace in the Valley”.  He had a great voice and sounded exactly like Elvis. If you have not heard this song you can find it here on YouTube.

After church we walked up to Whole Foods; a daily thing since it is so close. Here Denise purchased some produce for the week while Mark went to CVS (next door in the same shopping center) to buy some Diet Coke. We then carried our packages back to the boat.

In the afternoon Denise worked on the last blog posting and then did some food prep for the week ahead.  Meanwhile, Mark did some client work that required a large chunk of uninterrupted time.

We also had been in communication with Claire and John who were headed back to Boston, but staying in a hotel near the airport; they have a very early flight out in the morning and wanted to stay as close as possible.  They wanted a pizza dinner, so we made arrangements to meet at Regina’s Pizzeria in the North End. Once again we walked under the bridge and over the locks to the North End where we met them already in line. The timing couldn’t have been better; as soon as we arrived the host came and got us and we were seated in a booth.  Again it was delicious and again we had a fun time with them.  Unfortunately, we did have to say goodbye as this really was the last time we will see them until we return back home in November.

At Reginas Pizzeria

John & Claire at Regina’s Pizzeria

We walked back to the marina, across the locks and under the bridge, and settled in for the rest of the night.

Boston, MA – Monday 9/30
Today was a working day and a prep day for leaving, including getting a load of laundry done.  We had been looking at the possibility of leaving Boston tomorrow with a small weather window to get to New Bedford (80+ miles away).  We had been in touch with Victoria & Chuck (“Argento”) who were planning to leave as well, but they wanted an earlier start than us as they planned to go all the way to Newport, RI in one day.

In the evening Victoria & Chuck came over to our boat for drinks, and then we went to Dinner at the Monument Restaurant & Tavern. It is located just past the Whole Foods in the Charlestown neighborhood.  We had a good time talking and discussing our cruising plans for the next few weeks, if we can ever get out of Boston.  We walked back to our respective boats and agreed to keep in touch tomorrow.

Boston, MA – Tuesday 10/1
We were up early and at 6:30 am received a text from Chuck that they (“Argento”) had left at 6:00 am.  We were not quite ready to leave, so we asked them to keep us posted on their progress.  We then prepared the boat and left Constitution Marina an hour behind them.  Denise had some trepidation as we saw the wind was already picking up and it was more obvious once we got away from the marina.  We got half way out into Boston Harbor and received the text from “Argento” that they were near Plymouth and experiencing 4’ seas.  Based on this, we decided to turn around and go back to the marina because we knew it was only going to be worse by the time we got there.

We pulled back into our slip, only turned the boat to face the opposite way so we would be buffered by the oncoming wind.   And then 30 minutes later “Argento” reported that the seas had settled a bit and they were continuing on; we were now rethinking our decision to turn around.  But it was too late to leave as the wind would just build more and we would not have the same conditions as they had by the time we got down to the Cape Cod Canal.  This was a wise move as they later reported that Buzzards Bay ended up being a nightmare with 4 -6 foot seas as they pressed on to Newport, RI.

Once we checked back into the marina and resigned ourselves to being here at least 3 more days (due to weather forecasts) we contemplated what to do to take advantage of the time in Boston.  We discovered Hugh Jackman’s show was going to be at the TD Garden this evening and contemplated getting tickets. We also looked at other options, including going to the movies.

But we both had work to do first. Denise was able to make a conference call with a client and was also able to get a blog updated published as we were quite behind.  Once this was done, we felt accomplished and decided to go get a quick early dinner at the Blackmoor Tavern (restaurant/bar near the marina) and then go to see if we can still get tickets to the show.  (We had checked on StubHub but the service fees were half the cost of the tickets and we wanted to avoid that if we could).

We walked over the locks and to the TD Garden ticket office to see what they had to offer.  As luck would have it, we were able to get decent seats for a fair price, but a bit far from stage.  We ended up sitting next to a handful of actors from the road show “The Lion King” that had just arrived in town and whose show opens at the Opera House on Thursday. It was fine for us, and we were treated to a terrific show.  He performed songs from and from “The Greatest Show on Earth”, “Les Miserable”, and a terrific medley of songs about NYC, where he got his big break in theater.  He also did an amazing tribute to his wife of 23 years, as well as to other Australian performers who have impacted his life.  There was a surprise guest appearance by Keala Settle (from “The Greatest Show on Earth”) who sang “This is Me” from the show and was phenomenal. It was an awesome show and we were glad we went.  By the time we walked back the boat it was way past our bedtime.


Boston, MA – Wednesday 10/2
We knew today rain and wind was forecasted, but when we got up there was no hint of it. It was much warmer than it has been recently, but rain was forecasted from mid-morning until late in the day.  Seeing this, Mark suggested we go see the movie “Downton Abbey”.  The Regal movie theater was too far for us to walk, and it would have taken us an hour to get there by train due to all the stops. So we took an uber and made it to the opening show at 11:30 am. There were only 3 other people in the theater, and by the time we got there the rain was threatening.  We liked the movie a lot and we came out of it wishing the tv show was still being broadcast.

We also came out of the theater to a drizzly cold rain and very windy conditions.  Of course we had left the umbrella back at the boat. Across the street from the theater was a “Supercuts” and we saw that there was no one in line, so Mark decided to get his hair cut while Denise waited patiently in the warmth of the store.  Afterwards we saw a big Target store around the corner, walked to it and browsed around to see if there was anything we couldn’t live without; it had been months since either of us had been in a Target. Finally, it was time to make our way back to the boat.  Not wanting to get wet walking to a train station, and from the station back to the boat, and knowing we needed to find something to eat for dinner, we decided to take an Uber back to the Whole Foods near the marina and picked up something for dinner.  We then walked back to the boat in the rain, but by this time it was a light drizzle but we were already a bit wet anyway so it didn’t matter.

Boston, MA – Thursday 10/3
This morning was a pretty cold morning on the water with temperatures in the low 50’s. Denise was going to go for a run, but wanted to wait until the weather warmed up.  But she got busy and it never happened. She spent the entire day downloading and cataloging pictures and preparing the next blog update. Meanwhile, Mark worked on our ice maker, which has been producing smaller ice cubes and less amounts.  He has been on the phone with the manufacturer’s customer support center and has tried several things they suggested. However, each takes a few hours of running to test in order to see if it works.  So far we are seeing some improvements, but it is still not making the kind of ice it was 3 weeks ago. He will continue to pursue this in the coming days.

That evening Mark wanted to try a new restaurant located in the North End, called the “The Daily Catch”.   It is a seafood restaurant with an Italian flare. So we left for an early dinner and walked to what we discovered was a very small restaurant on Hanover Street (the heart of the Italian District). When we arrived, there was already a line of about 10 people ahead of us. The benefits of being a party of 2 is that you get seated easier, and we didn’t have to wait long at all before we got a table.  This restaurant is by far the smallest one we have eaten at during the entire trip. It only seats about 20 people and they have a very limited menu; most of which is fresh seafood. Our waiter was the son of the founders, who have 2 other restaurants and have turned them over to their children for management. In addition to our waiter/owner, there are only 2 others working there; the dishwasher and the chef. The chef has been there 2.5 years and we had a ringside seat to watch his cooking. It was fun to see how each dish is prepared, and at any restaurant in Winter Park we would have had to pay more just to sit at the “chef’s table”; here it was part of the experience.  The food was delicious and filling and we hope to come back someday and try their Lobster Fra Diavlo (most famous dish for 2 or more people) or their black pasta.

On the way back to the boat we bypassed our favorite 24-hour bakery as we were too full to put anything else in our stomach.  We settled into the boat and watched the final episode of Game of Thrones, as well as the special on the Making of Game of Thrones.

Boston, MA – Friday 10/4
The day started off cloudy and overcast once again, with high winds.  In the morning we worked on finishing and publishing the last blog update and doing work for clients.  We also did updates to software on our devices, and applications as we had a good strong wifi connection and wanted to do this before moving to other locations where the wifi strength was unknown.

In the afternoon the skies cleared and cooler weather started to come in. We reviewed the weather forecast and made plans to leave Boston early on Sunday morning, and updated our reservations for New Bedford; our intended next stop where we had a package waiting for us. We have a small window but have bailout options if we don’t make it all the way in Scituate, Plymouth, Sandwich or Onset. Of course we would like to get as far south as possible as we know the weather forecast in coming days does not look great. We may have us sit for a while

In late afternoon we noticed a helicopter hovering over the North End area of downtown, and it seemed to stay there for an inordinate amount of time; at least 1.5 hours.  Mark discovered that it was the start of Oktoberfest activities and not some police activity or traffic issue.  If we would have known about these activities, we probably would have made plans to attend, but it was too late in the day and we still had things we wanted to get done on the boat.

Helicopter stationary for hours

Helicopter stationary for hours

In the evening we had a light dinner on the boat, watched the Clint Eastwood movie “The Mule”, and then an episode of The Great British Bake Show before turning in for the night.  It was a low key day, but that was quite alright with us as we are sure there will be more days ahead full of adventure on our Island Office.

Here are some other pictures of the area around the marina:

Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office